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City’s Housing Challenges Highlighted In Report to Abbotsford Council

Abbotsford (Josh Olund BCIT Radio A&E) – The two biggest issues facing Abbotsford in the near future are housing affordability and an ageing population, according to the Housing Needs Report received by Council on Monday,April 26.

This report was done as part of 2018 provincial legislation that required all municipalities in B.C.to complete housing needs assessments by April 2022.Matt Parker, Consultant of Help Seeker Technologies summarized the report for council, saying one of the biggest issues facing the community is that personal income growth was not keeping up to pace with the increase in housing and rental costs.

Parker said there was a spike in income between 2006 and 2011, but that has slowed in recent years and has only worsened during the pandemic.“Post 2015, there has been a rapid increase in housing prices in Abbotsford, and this is a general trend in a lot of the Lower Mainland today,”Parker said.

In Abbotsford, the average single-family home grew by 79 percent over five years, to about $811,000 in 2019, the report indicates.Parker stated that this has resulted in an increase in “core housing need” – when a household spends more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

As of 2016 – the most recent figures used in the report,based on the last census in Canada -just over 5,900, or 13 percent of Abbotsford households fit into this category.Parker said almost 2,600 households fit into the category of “extreme core housing need,” which is more than 50 percent of income is spent on housing.

The Housing Needs Report also states that the homeless population in Abbotsford increased by 21.5 percent from 2017 to 2020, and there are currently four local projects currently underway to provide more beds and/or units for those who are impacted.

Parker said that the growing population of people aged 65 and older is another area of concern.

The report indicates that one in three local residents belongs to a visible minority, and 25percent of Abbotsford’s population is of South Asian descent.

The full report will be available to the public on the city’s website.

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